Jul 29, 2014

Review: The Whispering Skull

The Whispering Skull
The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co. #2)
by Jonathan Stroud (Goodreads Author)
4.54 of 5 stars 4.54 · rating details · 46 ratings · 23 reviews
In the six months since Anthony, Lucy, and George survived a night in the most haunted house in England, Lockwood & Co. hasn't made much progress. Quill Kipps and his team of Fittes agents keep swooping in on Lockwood's investigations. Finally, in a fit of anger, Anthony challenges his rival to a contest: the next time the two agencies compete on a job, the losing side will have to admit defeat in the Times newspaper.

Things look up when a new client, Mr. Saunders, hires Lockwood & Co. to be present at the excavation of Edmund Bickerstaff, a Victorian doctor who reportedly tried to communicate with the dead. Saunders needs the coffin sealed with silver to prevent any supernatural trouble. All goes well-until George's curiosity attracts a horrible phantom.

Back home at Portland Row, Lockwood accuses George of making too many careless mistakes. Lucy is distracted by urgent whispers coming from the skull in the ghost jar. Then the team is summoned to DEPRAC headquarters. Kipps is there too, much to Lockwood's annoyance. Bickerstaff's coffin was raided and a strange glass object buried with the corpse has vanished. Inspector Barnes believes the relic to be highly dangerous, and he wants it found.

The author of the blockbuster Bartimaeus series delivers another amusing, chilling, and ingeniously plotted entry in the critically acclaimed Lockwood & Co. series.

Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: September 16th 2014 by Disney Hyperion (first published August 28th 2014)
original titleThe Whispering Skull
ISBN 142316492X (ISBN13: 9781423164920)
edition languageEnglish
seriesLockwood & Co. #2
other editions (10)


Part way update as I read:

So far I am loving this book. It is an awesome ghost chasing book for teens based in London. I would loved to have gotten my hands on a book this fun as a teen around 12 or up.

Over half finished. Lockwood is pretty mysterious and I am with the skull wanting to get out in the open what Lockwood is hiding behind the door in the 3 ghost / detective's office. I have always loved detective stories as a child especially when there was a touch of supernatural or a boogie chase.

Once finished I hated that there wasn't just a little more. I imagine there will be ALOT more in a next installment / future mystery. I love that in this series it is common "real life" that teens have psychic type powers and are able to somewhat communicate with the dead. The skull in this particular book makes you furious, but it is also hard to not laugh your tail off in parts. I want to thank the publishers for providing me with this book to give an honest review of. It was one heck of a spook ride that I thoroughly enjoyed to the end.

The characters each have their own quirks and personalities that'd both aid in detecting & also make cause for human disruption. Business is business though and their stiff competition is always on their heels (or in a bush watching).
Exciting, mysterious, spooky, and fun filled throughout.

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Review: Cartboy Goes to Camp

Cartboy Goes to Camp
Cartboy Goes to Camp by L.A. Campbell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This is the laugh-out-loud sequel to L. A. Campbell’s Cartboy and the Time Capsule.

Hopelessly hapless Hal Rifkind, a.k.a. Cartboy, is off to summer camp. And not just any old camp, but history camp. Campers have to learn how to churn butter, plant maize, and carry water from the stream—or they get punished for not doing their chores. What else could possibly go wrong for Cartboy? Read Hal’s journal to find out!

Filled with photos, drawings, and timelines, Hal’s journal chronicles his hilarious adventures at Camp Jamestown—where nothing has changed in 400 years.

Hardcover, 224 pages
Published June 10th 2014 by Starscape (first published April 1st 2014)
ISBN0765333279 (ISBN13: 9780765333278)
other editions (1)

Cartboy Goes to Camp is a typical camp / parents trying to force their goals down your throat point of view of a young kid but has the bonus of being told in the journal style with humorous drawings to carry the story along. I was given this book in exchange for an honest review so I did not read the first book in the series. It is pretty obvious from the beginning that Cartboy is already made fun of at school for carrying his books in an old lady cart. Appears to be another of his day's ideas.

I like books that actual kids can relate to & just from some of my own childhood memories, I could relate to Cartboy. He gets with a "not so popular" crowd at camp. Some luckily are devoted to the idea of the camp. Cartboy just can't seem to fit at first plus his -# 1 bully is of course at camp! Bla.

Our main character is disappointed in everything as well as himself before it's over, but there is a good ending that makes all the bad worth going through to find true friends, connect with dad, & rid the bully.... A good hearted and discovery type adventure.

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Jul 25, 2014

The Fourteenth Goldfish Jennifer Holm Random House Children's book review

The Fourteenth GoldfishThe Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Fourteenth Goldfish
Jennifer Holm

Believe in the possible . . . with this brilliantly quirky, thought-provoking novel from New York Times bestseller, three-time Newbery Honor winner Jennifer L. Holm

Galileo. Newton. Salk. Oppenheimer.

Science can change the world . . . but can it go too far?

Eleven-year-old Ellie has never liked change. She misses fifth grade. She misses her old best friend. She even misses her dearly departed goldfish. Then one day a strange boy shows up. He's bossy. He's cranky. And weirdly enough . . . he looks a lot like Ellie's grandfather, a scientist who's always been slightly obsessed with immortality. Could this pimply boy really be Grandpa Melvin? Has he finally found the secret to eternal youth?

With a lighthearted touch and plenty of humor, Jennifer Holm celebrates the wonder of science and explores fascinating questions about life and death, family and friendship, immortality . . . and possibility.


JENNIFER L. HOLM's father was a pediatrician and she grew up listening to him talk about the wonder of antibiotics and how science could change the world. Today Jennifer is the NY Times bestselling author of three Newbery Honor Books, as well as the co-creator of the Babymouse series (a 2013 Eisner Award Winner) and Squish series, which she collaborates on with her brother Matthew Holm


This book is so funny with so much to offer along the line of sneaking some educational science between the lines to the unsuspecting children. I was so impressed by the author's ability to work education and humor together so seamlessly. Science wasn't my friend in school, but many girls did go that route and good for them. I like that the man character is in fact a girl as well. Girls need more books that encourage them to follow their brains and accomplish their own goals in the educational fields offered.

There are so many things that could be said about this awesome book that I was given by the publisher before release that I can't do it justice in just a few paragraphs.

The author is just brilliant. I can not praise this book enough.

JENNIFER L. HOLM has worked a miracle of science / art in combining so much humor from Grandpa Melvin (now in his teen body), the every day interactions between family, whether science should always be used just because it can be, the benefits and losses of growing old / dying vs. eternal life, slowing down to smell the roses, growing up and change.... all worked together so beautifully that you don't even realize you learned a valuable life lesson while laughing your tail off.


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Review: Bird & Squirrel on Ice

Bird & Squirrel on Ice
Bird & Squirrel on Ice by James Burks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Description:

Bird and Squirrel are back and ready for adventure!

After Bird and Squirrel crash land in the South Pole during a raging blizzard, a penguin named Sakari thinks Bird has come to rid her village of a hungry Killer Whale. But when Squirrel finds out that Bird will actually be fed to the Killer Whale as a sacrifice, they hatch a crazy plan to escape. With a good timing, a little luck, and help from Sakari, they just might make it out alive. Or they might end up as whale food!


This was my first experience with the quacky duo of Bird and Squirrel. The characters are so funny and apparently prone to misunderstandings, silliness, and down right disasters at times. I am glad to add this to my read books and blog reviews for future readers (children and adult alike) to enjoy thanks to the publisher providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

The book is laid out in comic book style, but simplified for younger readers. By that I mean there are not a dozen word balloons in one screen. It is beautifully colored and exciting to the end. Squirrel shows true friendship and bravery as does Sakari. Bird has the ability to bounce back from anything apparently haha.

A great positive read for children with action, suspense, as well as friendship and loyalty prominently displayed.

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Jul 21, 2014

Christmas in July BLOG HOP

Christmas in July Giveaway Hop

Christmas in July Giveaway Hop

Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer &Laurie Here

This giveaway is for 1 copy of 

The Room Beyond 
By Stephanie Elmas

The Room Beyond

Paperback280 pagesWhen Serena begins a new life working for the Hartreve family at 36 Marguerite Avenue she falls in love, not just with its eccentric and alluring inhabitants and their world, but with the house itself. Number 36 is a beautiful Victorian London mansion that has remained in the family for generations. Serena feels that by being here she has escaped the ghosts of her own sad childhood and found a true home, but she soon discovers that behind its gleaming surfaces Marguerite Avenue is plagued by secrets and mystery. Why does such a beautiful tranquil street seem sometimes to shimmer with menace? Is everyone in the family quite who they appear to be? And just what is it that the family is trying to hide from her?

It is 1892. On a hot summer night scented with jasmine, Miranda Whitestone hosts a dinner party at 34 Marguerite Avenue. Watching helplessly as her husband is seduced by her glamorous neighbour Lucinda Eden, she can have no idea of the consequences the evening will have.

For the history of Marguerite Avenue is more chilling than Serena could have imagined, and the fates of two women - the beautiful renegade Lucinda and the 'good wife' Miranda - will reach out from the past to cast a shadow over Serena's own future.

The Room Beyond is a thriller that delves beneath the romance and grandeur of a London house and finds a family haunted by the legacy of past wrongdoings. As the suspense grows and the fog thickens, will Serena be able to give up all that she has come to love? Will she ever escape?(less)
Published October 1st 2013 by Banstead House Publishing (first published September 29th 2013)

Author of The Room Beyond, launched 30th September 2013
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The Room Beyond
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Stephanie Elmas
Stephanie Elmas was born in Hong Kong to an English father and Czech mother but spent most of her childhood in Bristol, England UK. She studied English at university in London. She has worked as a head hunter, taught English in Japan and returned to university to complete a Masters in Victorian fiction. It was here that she developed her interest in the dark dangerous world of Victorian sensation writing. Stephanie now lives in a chaotic house in Surrey, England UK, with her husband and three highly energetic but wonderful children.

Jul 20, 2014

Review: Greene's Calling

Greene's Calling
Greene's Calling by A.D. Starrling

My rating: 2 of 5 stars



An immortal healer.
An ancient legacy reborn.
A chain of cataclysmic events that threatens to change the fate of the world.

When a plane crashes in the Amazonian swamp where Conrad Greene is attempting to live out the rest of eternity, the jaded immortal who was once one of the Bastian First Council’s greatest assets stumbles across a conspiracy involving the recently elected president of the United States.

Caught in the middle of the intrigue is US Secret Service agent Laura Hartwell, the one immortal on Earth most likely to put a bullet through Greene’s skull.

Greene is coerced into returning to the life he had left behind by the leader of the Bastians and reluctantly agrees to assist the Americans in their investigation. As disturbing incidents start to unfold around the globe, Greene and a team of elite human and immortal agents must track down an elusive organization hell-bent on shifting the power balance of the world.

Can Greene stop the deadly countdown that threatens to alter the course of human history and regain the trust of the woman he loves?

The riveting and fast-paced third installment in the award-winning, supernatural thriller series Seventeen is finally here.


as at first very interested in this advanced copy of Greene's Calling that I received free to provide an honest opinion of. I was very intrigued at the idea of immortals and in Greene's past love experience that ended in disaster. I liked that he lived the peaceful life to himself til a plane landed on him concerning his ex love and danger that found him soon on the United States joining her and protecting not only our president, but many other world leaders. I lost interest because I am not very into "terrorist" type books between humans nor immortals.

I am not saying the book was poorly written, nor someone with more technical interest in the army, navy, defense - country vs country mentality opulent have liked it. I just didn't. I read for weeks and continued to find myself reading and re reading to figure who was who when I truly did not care.

I believe many of other types of readers may have found the book interesting. I wonder if the plane falling on Greene's out of the way hidden cabin that originally got him involved was a coincidence? Maybe someone who could have stood to finish the book might have found out of ... Of all the places a terrorist,s plane would crash, why on Greene's remote shack that would force him to become re involved with his ex immortal girlfriend..

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Review: Ghost House

Ghost House
Ghost House by Alexandra Adornetto

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love a good old fashioned ghost story once in a while and I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of this book. I could not wait to sink my teeth into it. I loved the theme, but hated the horrible cliffhanger at the end, although it does offer a promising continuance to the (what I thought was an unfair ending).

I love books about old English homes with old ghosts roaming about. Especially handsome ghosts that make you fall madly in love. The book has an ultimately incredible base idea, but does seem weak in places. For me the overall story makes up for the weaknesses in writing in places. I found my heart thumping in places and broken in other places.

Overall, I liked the book and loved that it got my imagination going and definitely held my interest. It was not a gory, blood & guts book, but there were a few heart racing / breath holding spots that pleased me immensely.

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Review: Stop, Thief!

Stop, Thief!
Stop, Thief! by Heather Tekavec

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


"Max," said the farmer to his dog one day, "can you catch a thief?" Of course! He can catch anything! And Max eagerly sets off on a quest to find the culprit who has been stealing the farmer's fruits and vegetables. Within moments, the dog is confident he has spotted the thief -- a tiny blue bug, working on a carrot top. "Stop, thief!" Max cries as the bug flies away. Undaunted, Max chases after the bug, from the carrots to the berries to the beans and the cherries, until, eventually, Max watches in satisfaction as the bug flies away over the farm fence. What Max totally misunderstands in his enthusiasm, however -- and what youngsters will figure out right away -- is that the tiny blue bug isn't the thief at all. The real thieves are hiding in plain sight, right under his nose! Author Heather Tekavec has created a perfect storytime choice in this fun and funny picture book, as the kid appeal of being "in the know" while the lovable dog remains clueless will surely invite repeated readings. This story provides an excellent opportunity for discussions about jumping to conclusions and blaming others, or even about life on a farm. It also offers terrific lessons for building early literacy skills, such as moving beyond what is strictly presented in the text and critically thinking about what can be observed in the exuberant and friendly artwork by illustrator Pierre Pratt.


I was so happy to read and review this free copy of STOP THIEF provided for an honest review. The illustrations and main character Max were so fun and joyful. Young readers will adore this anxious to please, lovable little pup.

Great book for children's opportunities for discussion and learning while enjoying Max's discoveries along the way. Wonderful picture book that will get children thinking ahead as the story progressed.

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